Meeting Isaac Hale
Sorry this took so long to write! It’s based off this prompt, where Rhys meets Isaac Hale, Feyre’s former lover.
I never thought I’d be here again.
The village had been my life, been my whole world, and now it seemed so… small. Compared with Velaris, it seemed like nothing. I had been nothing. Just another nameless girl in a nameless village doing whatever I could to survive the day, the year.
I never liked to think of what my life had been like as a human. But here, a place where everyone knew everybody, where everyone was gaunt and poor, it was like I had never left.
The village hadn’t changed. Well, not much.
But there were the market stalls that still dominated the village square, run by the same vendors or their children. The houses still looked raggedy, the people still pale faced and run down. After the war, human and fae relations had improved, and the human lands were beginning to prosper once more, but there was still a long way to go.
Which was why we were here.
Even after fifteen years, I could still remember vividly what my human life was like. And, yes, I did not like to think about it, not when my life was so much better now, but being here… it brought back memories.
Memories of Isaac Hale, of the Children of the Blessed, of long days and nights spent in the woods, trying to provide for a family who had given up hope. Memories of the day I killed a wolf with hate in my heart.
Ironic, really, that I had ended up as someone human Feyre would have despised.
Sensing my trail of thoughts, Rhys entwined his hand with mine, an action so familiar it was almost instinctive. The simple touch grounded me, made me remember that this wasn’t my life anymore, that I wouldn’t have to live like that again.
It had been fifteen years, but the scars still ran deep.
“Do you think they’re going to like us?” I asked Rhys, even though I knew the answer.
My mate huffed a breath. “No. But… they won’t try anything. Not now that the treaty is in full force.”
Ah yes, the treaty. After the first war all those centuries ago, the treaty stopping fae enslaving humans and humans killing fae had begun. But the laws had worn away in the years, and now, soon after this war had been won, it was restored. Relations with the human lands had improved, greatly so, but prejudices remained on either side. We still kept to our side and they kept to theirs.
Rhys and I were here for a meeting with the Queens. And since part of the treaty was for fae not to use magic in the Human Lands, Rhys and I had flown here. But I had wanted to stop here first.
I had shed my mortal skin more than a decade ago, but to be here one more time… I had nothing left of my father. And a part of me still missed him, even if he hadn’t been there for my sisters and I. After his sacrifice in the war, after what he did for us…
I wanted one more goodbye.
My mate and I had landed in the woods, out of sight from the humans in the village. I had stayed airborne for a few extra moments and just watched the village, the mundaneness of it all. It was hard to believe that this had been my life. That one of the girls could have been me fifteen years ago, both hopeless and desperate.
But I had sworn to improve the lives of the people here, and I would.
Which was why this meeting was important.
Nesta had been invited here with us since she was Emissary to the Human Lands, but she had refused. I knew why she did not want to step a foot in this place, and I did not blame her. One night, she had told me what had happened to her here. It took all the strength I had not to travel here to rip Tomas Mandray’s throat out there and then.
So the trip was just Rhys and I, and I couldn’t help but feel… nervous. That he would be seeing this part of me, the part of me that was weak, frail, human. But this was only where I had grown up, but it was not where I lived. It was not a part of me.
I looked up at Rhys, whose violet eyes were fixed on my face. I managed a smile. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
Taking a deep breath, I stepped out of the trees, my wings already gone. Rhys’s had also disappeared. There was no need for them here, and they would do nothing but frighten people.
The villagers all knew that I was fae, had found out when we got as many as we could to safety during the war. But I still felt their shocked eyes on me, on my unnatural stillness and grace and Rhys and I walked hand in hand next to the market, keeping out of the way of the stalls. I pretended not to hear the doors slamming and the sound of a lock being turned.
Scars ran deep here too.
“Do you want to go to the house?” Rhys asked, his voice hushed, as if he did not want to speak normally. I understood why, for even without advanced fae hearing, I was still worried that the villagers could hear every word.
I knew what house he meant. The hovel my family and I had lived in, the place that had been my home for nineteen years. I simultaneously dreaded and looked forward to seeing it. But I had to. It was almost as if it was the last piece I had of him.
Our hands still entwined, we turned to go, but were stopped by a shouted “Feyre?”
I knew that voice.
Rhys was instantly defensive, and looked as if he was searching for some hidden threat. But the voice belonged to a person who was not a danger to me.
He was just someone I really didn’t want to see.
He had reached us now, looking exactly the same as he did fifteen years go, except his face was lined and his hair beginning to show signs of grey.
My former lover and friend.
“I haven’t seen you in, what? Fifteen years!” Isaac said, obviously not picking up on Rhys’s glare or my surprise.
“Yeah. So how are you?” I asked, pointedly not looking at Rhys, though he practically radiated territorial bullshit.
Was he really jealous of Isaac?
Rhys knew that I had been with someone before Tamlin, knew that it had been Isaac, but I had never revealed much. Just that he had been my escape. From the world, and well… everything.
“Good, yeah.” He replied. I could feel his eyes on my pointed ears, and on my elongated teeth when I spoke. “What about you?”
I nodded, ignoring Rhys’s glaring. I couldn’t believe that he was jealous. And of a human. A human who I hadn’t slept with in years. We hadn’t even really cared about each other, not in the way we should. “I’m okay. It’s uh… I just wanted to come back. For a visit.” Why was I telling him all this? And I was beginning to ramble, most likely due to my shock at seeing him again.
And with Rhys here… It was like two worlds colliding. My past and my present.
“Oh, right.” I was sure Isaac was also beginning to regret coming over to us. He shot a nervous glance at Rhys, who was completely still, his eyes tracking Isaac’s every move. I realised that the latter was utterly terrified of Rhys. He was just good at hiding it. “It was, uh, great seeing you.” Isaac continued, and held out a hand, presumably for me to shake.
I was certain that Rhys let out something like a growl at the sight of it.
Wanting to diffuse the feral aura Rhys was exuding, I quickly shook Isaac’s hand, feeling the rough callouses against my skin. Callouses from years of hard labour. I also ignored Rhys, who was acting like a territorial prick. “We should get going.” I told Isaac, nodding my head towards the path that would take us to the house. If you could even call it that.
“Of course. It was great to see you, Feyre.”
“Likewise.” And in a way, I suppose it was. Yes, Isaac wasn’t perfect, not by any means, but he was one of the few who had shown me kindness when I had needed it most. He was the one who kept me sane during those years, and I would always be grateful for that.
So my smile was genuine when I wished him well, but a part of me was still glad to see him leave. Because the conversation had felt like a goodbye. One more thing to let go of. I knew I would probably never see him again, but that was okay. Just another part of my past.
“Would you calm down?” I said to Rhys, who was still watching Isaac’s retreating form with a predatory gleam in his eye.
Rhys rolled his eyes. “I’m perfectly calm, Feyre darling.” Though I could tell he was still aware of Isaac’s every move, even from a distance away.
“You were practically growling at him!”
“I just wanted him to know that you weren’t interested!”
“I think he knew that Rhys. Considering that our relationship consisted of a few nights a month in a barn, I think he could tell I wasn’t attached.”
This time it was me who rolled my eyes. “Prick.”
“Yes, but I’m your prick.”
“You’re ridiculous.” I replied, but I was smiling.
I glanced down towards the path. I could feel my heart thundering in my chest. But I had to do it. For my father. And then we would travel to the Human Queens, and then go home. Home to Prythian.
I held onto that thought as I led Rhys down the path.
I would say a final goodbye.
And then I would finally be free.